- Says their release will worsen situation in region
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Niger Delta Warriors, one of the many militant groups in the Niger Delta, on Wednesday alleged that the duo of Henry and Charles Okah, who are currently in separate prisons in Nigeria and South Africa, were giving orders to the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta in its purported bid to secure peace in the region.
The group, which described MEND as “defunct”, urged the federal government to be wary of the ex-militants, noting that releasing the Okahs would further deepen the crisis in the area.
In a statement by Sibiri Taiowoh, the group’s spokesman, it advised the federal government to stick with the Edwin Clark group if any headway is to achieved in the proposed negotiations.
“We want to use this medium to send a strong warning to the Federal Government to be wary of those using the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) to seek political relevance and to free incarcerated Henry and Charles Okah who are dishing out commands from their prisons cells.
“Their proposal would cause more crisis in the Niger Delta if the government fails to heed our persistent warning.The MEND that is issuing statements
is just a scam. It is a diversionary and a divide and rule
vehicle being deployed by some jobbers. You will follow them at your
own peril”, the NDW warned.
It added, “We would rather advise the federal government, if they really want genuine peace, to leverage on what Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark and the Governor of Delta state, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa started in Warri, Delta state and start the dialogue that would involve all ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region.”
According to the group, the federal government could use the Clark
template to start engaging genuine stakeholders in the region for an all-round peace and development of the region.
“Our demands have been made bare overtime and we don’t want to repeat ourselves. We believe once the government shows sincerity and kick-starts these plans, we would do everything possible to give them the peace they want, to continue the oil exploration, which is the sole interest of the federal government in the region.
“We are still observing the ceasefire as a mark of respect for our elders, leaders and various stakeholders who have pleaded with us because we want development to come to our impoverished people.
“ We want our people to enjoy electricity, pipe borne water and healthcare like Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Shell, and other IOCs are enjoying while exploring oil in our communities.
“However, while we are observing this momentary peace, MEND which is playing the role of spoiler should not dare us, otherwise the October 1, 2011 experience would be their portion during their slated tour.
“If Henry and Charles want amnesty which they rejected because they want to continue with their gun running business, they should do that quietly without rubbing it on our face. MEND should not push us into facing them”, the group said.